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Why Does Anyone Fly Alaska? (Including Rants)

Why Does Anyone Fly Alaska? (Including Rants)

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Old Aug 18, 18, 1:00 pm
  #91  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: SFO or OAK
Programs: UA 2P, AS MVP, WN CP; MR Ti, BW Dia, HH Au, RR Au
Posts: 4,808
Trying so hard to stay loyal...

For whatever it's worth, as a PM AS MVP Gold, with a lot of California travel, I'm finding it nearly impossible to stay loyal on a practical basis, in the sense that there are no flights on the routes I need!

When I became elite 3 or 4 years ago, it was easy. I would take AS for PNW travel and take Delta or American for anything else.

Then we lost Delta but American was still good enough.

And then Alaska started cutting its own and VX's non-stop routes from SFO.

This year alone, I've needed to fly to DEN, MSP, and OMA - routes either AS or VX used to fly from SFO - plus anytime I need to get to smaller cities in the Northeast it involves driving from New York or Boston. And there is still no service to PHX.

In particular, it shocks me that there's no service to DEN or PHX out of SFO! These are popular destinations for west coast business travelers!

I don't think I can even hit renewal of my status if I try because the flights don't exist. I'm left with trying to route thru SEA or LAX for connections that don't even have published fares, then driving from New York City or Boston for anything in the Northeast.

Any single one of those issues would be workable but not all of them together. As much as I dislike United and especially the loyalty program there's really no other viable option at this point.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 2:25 pm
  #92  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
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Originally Posted by flymonthly View Post
With the opening of the AS lounge and the recent opening of PreCheck there, JFK T7 is almost pleasant. However, getting to JFK from the city is still a pain in the rear.
I couldn't disagree more. JFK Airtrain is really easy to use, and the walk from the train to T7 gates is really short. It's one of the easiest airports I know of for PT.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 3:09 pm
  #93  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: TUS/PDX
Programs: WN CP/A-List, AS MVPG75K
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Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
And there is still no service to PHX.
But but but! We get SFO-PHX for a whole six weeks this year.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 10:49 am
  #94  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Bay Area
Programs: UA 1K, AA Plat, WN A-list, AS MVP 75K, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Titanium
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
a unicorn? if I'm not mistaken, there have been very few positive comments regarding JFK T7 ...
Admittedly, I've only landed at T7 off SJC-JFK and SFO-JFK, but it seemed like a dump. What parts are nice? AA T8 is pretty great.
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Old Sep 20, 18, 1:31 am
  #95  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: British Columbia
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Originally Posted by bobbysfca View Post
I couldn't disagree more. JFK Airtrain is really easy to use, and the walk from the train to T7 gates is really short. It's one of the easiest airports I know of for PT.
Flew it twice. Return to PHX had 7 empty F seats. Convenient for sure.

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Old Sep 20, 18, 6:31 pm
  #96  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Originally Posted by bobbysfca View Post
I couldn't disagree more. JFK Airtrain is really easy to use, and the walk from the train to T7 gates is really short. It's one of the easiest airports I know of for PT.
I agree that the JFK Airtrain is easy and walk to T7 gates is pretty short. It's getting TO the Airtrain that I was complaining about, especially when traffic (car & subway) is crowded/slow.
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Old Sep 22, 18, 1:21 pm
  #97  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Francisco
Programs: GM on VX, UA, AA, HA, AS, SY; Budget Fastbreak
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Originally Posted by Pi7473000 View Post
I avoid Alaska out of SFO! I was a loyal VX flyer, but Alaska service is awful and bland. I am not impressed. I stick to Delta and some United mostly now and just connect when flying out of the Bay. Really sad that Alaska was allowed to take over VX and cheapen the brand for customers.
i loved VX but have only flown AS for sfo/pdx. I would prefer AS for sfo/ord but fares are higher than competition
i like AS a lot out of sfo and am intrigued why you avoid it! Iíll take DL when the nonstop routing works - I only fly to a few places so have to book based nonstop and fares. Iíll try DL when flying sfo/msp since SY is pretty finished!
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Old Sep 23, 18, 6:35 am
  #98  
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Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post

Any single one of those issues would be workable but not all of them together. As much as I dislike United and especially the loyalty program there's really no other viable option at this point.
DL operates to most places in the northeast that UA does, via either DTW or ATL. I would rather connect in either of those airports than EWR or ORD, but YMMV. From SFO to DEN/PHX, you'd have to connect in Salt Lake, pretty good connecting airport and often the connections are efficient -- 35-45 minutes...but sure not the convenience of the nonstops that UAL offers. As a 50,000 mile flyer on either UA or DL you will not be seeing that many upgrades anyways.

I have moved a fair bit of my regional AS flying to WN, and so far it's working OK. Different experience, but not bad different. I have put my AMEX airline reimbursement on WN and just buy EBCI via the reimbursement when I want or need it.

This year I will only have flown AS to YKM (where they have no competition) and to OGG, where they have the only nonstop from my home airport...and even then, one way was booked with BA miles.
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Old Sep 23, 18, 5:50 pm
  #99  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Originally Posted by PV_Premier View Post
DL operates to most places in the northeast that UA does, via either DTW or ATL. I would rather connect in either of those airports than EWR or ORD, but YMMV. From SFO to DEN/PHX, you'd have to connect in Salt Lake, pretty good connecting airport and often the connections are efficient -- 35-45 minutes...but sure not the convenience of the nonstops that UAL offers. As a 50,000 mile flyer on either UA or DL you will not be seeing that many upgrades anyways.
I've been considering DL, as well. I was DL Gold for years and liked it quite a bit. My company has a preference for UA but it's not insurmountable. The big difference in my mind is that I've had much, much easier UA redemptions lately, so whatever little RDM I'll earn would be worth more with UA.
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Old Sep 28, 18, 11:48 am
  #100  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
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The above mentioned answers give enough reasons for us to travel with Alaska.

It’s competitive, rewarding and flies to more destinations than many other airlines.
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Old Sep 28, 18, 12:56 pm
  #101  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: East Ester, Alaska
Programs: Alaska Airlines Million Miler, United Airlines Million Miler, Wyndham Rewards Diamond Level
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No airline's perfect and Alaska does have its share of shortcomings. It's been my experience however (1.6 million miles flown on Alaska, 3.8 million on all the others) that Alaska offers a more consistently good overall service and - as a top level elite flyer - I can't imagine being treated any better by a U.S. airline; be it mileage earned, upgrades or even basic recognition. I remember when I was 1K on United - no comparison. 75K on Alaska is far superior. Additionally, I've heard the continuing parade of horror stories from DL and AA elites. Those airlines have simply become so large that I don't believe the quality of service I've come to expect from Alaska is possible aboard AA/DL with the consistency that I experience on Alaska.

That said, I totally commiserate with those for whom Alaska's route system or frequency of flights don't work or no longer work. I can't imagine Alaska would just cavalierly drop routes like SFO to DEN or PHX unless factors such as competition or even availability of aircraft made Alaska's continued presence in those markets untenable. For my part, I'm at a loss as to why Alaska doesn't bring back nonstop flights between Denver and PDX - a longtime Alaska/Horizon hub with great opportunities for online connections around the Pacific Northwest.
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Old Sep 28, 18, 1:51 pm
  #102  
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
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Yes, the loss of DEN-SFO really bothers me as a Denver-based AS flyer.

Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
In particular, it shocks me that there's no service to DEN or PHX out of SFO! These are popular destinations for west coast business travelers!
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Old Sep 28, 18, 3:04 pm
  #103  
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Originally Posted by EmailKid View Post
Well, they made have made out like bandits, but MAJOR investors weren't happy with the way VX was run. Sir Richard made a big deal of snagging DAL slots / gates, but again could not figure out how to make money there, something WN had no problem doing. And it appears that AS isn't having success with figuring out what to do with DAL either. UA did - they leased their two gates for an obscene amount of money to WN
I suspect AS can make DAL work the same way they make BUR/OAK work, an alternate in a large metro area that has access to AS's hubs and focus cities, in an airport dominated by WN, but that's just it.

VX was just weird in their choices; they dumped money into LGA/DCA slots, which might have made sense if they were going for a new midcon focus city, but they tied them up with an airport that had a hard cap on expansion (DAL), plus they wasted time and money on DAL-AUS/LAS, which just wasn't going to work going head-on against the WN beast.

I wouldn't be shocked if SFO/LAX-DFW happened at some point; you could sell SFO/LAX-DFW-XXX AA codeshares.

Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
In particular, it shocks me that there's no service to DEN or PHX out of SFO! These are popular destinations for west coast business travelers!
Business travelers are going to be using UA or WN on those routes if they are SFO/DEN based given that UA has hubs in both cities and WN has good intra-CA + a DEN hub. If they are PHX-based traveling a lot to SFO and California, it's AA or WN, same story.

UA has something like 13x SFO-DEN. WN and F9 serve it pretty well too. It's not by any stretch of the imagination an underserved market.

Last edited by eponymous_coward; Sep 28, 18 at 3:10 pm
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Old Sep 28, 18, 5:47 pm
  #104  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Programs: UA1K 3MM, AS MVP 75K Gold
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While no airline is perfect, I'm satisfied with Alaska. And this is coming from someone who flew over 3MM with United.
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Old Sep 28, 18, 6:57 pm
  #105  
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Originally Posted by Seat 2A View Post
I'm at a loss as to why Alaska doesn't bring back nonstop flights between Denver and PDX - a longtime Alaska/Horizon hub with great opportunities for online connections around the Pacific Northwest.
Everyone and their brother has asked this. And yet we get nowhere.
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